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Asia Security Summit 2023 Shangri-La Dialogue Begins Amid China-US Tensions

The opening of Asia’s top security meeting has begun, with the escalating rivalry between the United States and China expected to dominate a weekend of high-level speeches, backroom military deals,...

The opening of Asia’s top security meeting has begun, with the escalating rivalry between the United States and China expected to dominate a weekend of high-level speeches, backroom military deals, and delicate diplomacy. The Shangri-la Dialogue, which attracts senior military officers, diplomats, weapons manufacturers, and security analysts from around the world, was held in Singapore from June 2 to 4, 2023.

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Why In The News?

  • Asia’s Top Security Meeting Has Opened With Intensifying Competition Between The United States And China Expected To Dominate A Weekend Of High-level Speeches, Backroom Military Dealings And Delicate Diplomacy.
  • The Shangri-la Dialogue, Which Attracts Senior Military Officers, Diplomats, Weapons Makers And Security Analysts From Around The Globe took place From 02 – 04 June 2023 In Singapore.
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What Is Shangri-La Dialogue?

  • The IISS Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-la Dialogue (SLD) Is A “Track One” Inter-governmental Security Conference Held Annually In Singapore By An Independent Think Tank, The International Institute For Strategic Studies (IISS).
  • The Dialogue Is Commonly Attended By Defence Ministers, Permanent Heads Of Ministries And Military Chiefs Of Mostly Asia-pacific States. The Forum’s Name Is Derived From The Shangri-la Hotel In Singapore, Where It Has Been Held Since 2002.
  • The Summit Serves To Cultivate A Sense Of Community Among The Most Important Policymakers In The Defence And Security Community In The Region. Government Delegations Have Made The Best Out Of The Meeting By Holding Bilateral Meetings With Other Delegations On The Sidelines Of The Conference.
  • Over The Years, The Shangri-la Dialogue Has Become One Of The Most Important Independent Forums For The Exchange Of Views By International Security Policy Decision-makers.
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IISS Asia Security Summit 2023 – Highlights:

  • Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese Delivered The Keynote Address While United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin And China’s New Defence Minister, Li Shangfu, Are Expected To Trade Barbs In Speeches Over The Weekend.
  • The Relationship Between The US And China Is At Its Lowest Point In Decades As The Two Superpowers Remain Deeply Divided Over Everything From The Sovereignty Of Taiwan To Cyber Espionage And Territorial Disputes In The South China Sea.
  • The Summit Could Be A Chance To Mend Ties Between Washington And Beijing Were Dealt A Blow Last Week When Li Declined An Offer To Meet With Austin. Li, Who Was Named China’s Defence Minister In March, Was Sanctioned By The US In 2018 Over Weapons Purchases From Russia.
  • Albanese’s Speech Comes As Australia Is Seeking To Stabilize Its Relationship With China After A Three-year Diplomatic Freeze And Trade Blocks That Beijing Is Now Easing.  China Buys The Bulk Of Australia’s Iron Ore And Is Its Biggest Trading Partner.
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A Competition For Regional Alliances:

  • Both The U.S. And China Are Hustling To Strengthen Partnerships With Asia-Pacific Countries As They Build Up Their Military Capacity In The Region.
  • So Far, Most Southeast Asian Countries Have Tried Not To Tilt Too Much In Favor Toward China Or The U.S. And Have Participated In The Proliferating Number Of Joint Military Drills With Both Countries.
  • But China Has Watched With Trepidation As The U.S. Has Forged Stronger Defense Ties With Two Of Southeast Asia’s Most Populous Countries, Indonesia And The Philippines.
  • Indonesia, The U.S., And 12 Other Nations Held Massive Military Exercises Together Last Fall. Earlier This Year, The U.S. Also Stepped Up Its Military Presence In The Philippines By Increasing Its Training Exercises There And Expanding The Number Of Philippines Military Bases Utilized By The American Military From Five To Nine.
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Important Moment In Southeast Asian Politics:

  • For Smaller Southeast Asian Countries, The Dialogue Is a Chance To Hash Out Foreign Policy And Engineer Informal Meetings Between Officials On The Sidelines Of Closed-door Talks, And More Than A Quarter Of The Summit’s Delegates Hail From The Region.
  • In Thailand, A Surprise Win By The Opposition Party During Recent National Elections Could Lead To An Opening On A More Aggressive Foreign Policy Approach To Supporting Opposition Forces In Myanmar, Where The Military Seized Power In A Coup In 2021.
  • Southeast Asia Is Also Maneuvering Around How To Position Themselves Around The Great Power Rivalry Between The U.S. And China.
  • The South China Sea, Where China Has Staked Out Contested Territorial Claims At Odds With Overlapping Claims From Vietnam, The Philippines, And Malaysia, To Name Just A Few, Remains A Hot Button Issue.
  • Taiwan And Its Dominance In Semiconductor Manufacturing – A Critical Tech Sector At The Heart Of The U.S.-China Rivalry – Is Also An Issue Of Concern For Southeast Asia. Some U.S. Firms And Taiwanese Chip Juggernaut TSMC Have Been Looking To Shift Operations To The Region, Out Of China.
  • The War In Ukraine, Despite Being A Hemisphere Away, Will Also Be On The Agenda. Most Southeast Asian Countries Have Chosen To Remain Silent On Russia’s Invasion. Ukraine Has Sent Its Deputy Defense Chief, Volodymyr Havrylov, To Singapore To Attend The Summit.
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